The Dutch King Willem-Alexander joined a Ramadan Iftar in the multicultural Transvaal district in The Hague on Thursday night, surprising the Muslim community who had no idea about the visit, NL Times reported.
“I never thought I would meet the king and now he comes to me. Really bizarre,” Cansu Alkurt, the pedagogical employee of the local pre-school said.
She spoke to the King about the importance of language for children and their parents.
“The King gives the impression that it does not matter that we are migrants. It makes you feel important that he comes here to our community center.”
Gathering in the community center on Mandelaplein, the Muslim community did not know about the secretly-planned visit.
— Maaike Kraaijeveld (@KraaijeveldM) May 16, 2019
Youth worker Nadir Abdel Moumen was getting ready to break the fast when suddenly he was sitting next to the King. “Yes, it was initially a matter of searching for conversation topics,” he said.
“Should it be chic? Or politics? It ended with the King telling about the areas in Morocco he has visited.” Willem-Alexander also told him that this was his first Iftar. “So we helped with his hazing.”
Koning Willem-Alexander woont een iftar-ontmoeting bij voor buurtbewoners van de wijk Transvaal in buurthuis Mandelaplein. pic.twitter.com/pqEnJriguj
— Jan Hofdijk (@JanHofdijk) May 17, 2019
Islam is the second largest religion in the Netherlands, practiced by 4% of the population according to 2010–11 estimates. Most reside in the nation’s four major cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht.
The early history of Islam in the Netherlands can be traced to the 16th century when a small number of Ottoman traders began settling in the nation’s port cities.
As a result, improvised mosques were first created in Amsterdam in the early 17th century.